In my last entry I began by praising the Central American bus system for being an efficient well lubricated machine: I rescind that comment wholeheartedly, as I figured eventually would be the case.
On a map Playa Samara and Montezuma are very close...deceptively close. In reality the roads between the two are nonexistent or so bad as to be uncrossable in the wet season. Our options were: 1) pony up $100 for a 'direct shuttle' which is code for 4 hours in a cramped mini van or 2) take public transport which would cost about $20 and could take 5 hours or could take 10 hours, depending on how you time the buses.
Gluttons for punishment that we are, of course we went for the roll of the dice and option #2...and well, we crapped out. The 9:30am bus came at 10 in Samara and we missed our first connection from Nicoya to Playa Naranjo, meaning 2 hours of sitting at the charming Nicoya bus station. Then in Naranjo there were no more buses running that afternoon, so we had no choice but to cough up $20 to share a cab to Paquera with a few German girls who were also making the trip. Then, wouldn't you know it...we missed the bus in Paquera by less then 5 minutes...meaning 2 more hours waiting for the next one. Fantastic.
We headed for a 'soda' (cheap local-food restaurant) for a plate of gallo pinto and after we'd eaten settled in to rot at the mosquito infested bus stop in Paquera. At last the 6:30 bus rolled by (@6:45, of course) and we piled on for the bumpy last leg of the journey to Montezuma.
Finally at almost 8:30pm we had arrived in Montezuma and set off into the night to find accommodation. We found a spot that was nice enough, but by no means 'nice' and crashed into a heap.
By my math we'd saved $65 on the journey, but had spent an additional 6 hours...which means we actually earned almost $11 per hour... Or so the equation goes in the deranged mind of a budget traveler. Coincidentally, our accommodation for 3 nights in Montezuma cost the same $65, so in retrospect I guess it was a good decision: 6 hours of pain for 3 nights of 'free' accom...but, man...it was a long, rough day.
We'd been moving fast since Guatemala to get to Costa Rica in time for the Playa Samara date we'd just had and therefor felt justified in continuing the 'chill and do very little' pace we assumed in Samara. And, well, Montezuma is just the place to do that.
It's a teeny, tiny little town on the beach with a decent sized reputation; mainly for being a bit of a hippie enclave. It was nice to see that not much has changed since I last visited in late 2003...
In the morning we hit the grocery store and stocked up on supplies for the next few days and had breakfast back at our place making use of the communal kitchen. On our way to the beach later in the morning, as we strolled down the main drag, I heard my name shouted from one of the little restaurants.
It was Aaron Hopkins, another Oaklander and buddy of mine from my post college glory days on the Clif Bar lacrosse team. He was in town on his honey moon with his lovely wife, Theresa. Holy random! We chatted for a little before making plans to meet up for a beer that evening and parting ways: they were headed to the National Park in the area and G and I had a hot date with a patch of sand and some sunshine.
Later in the afternoon we took a long walk West along the dirt road that heads out of town and along a long, beautiful stretch of coastline where we saw and heard many Howler Monkeys in the trees. For dinner we had home cooked black bean burritos, again using the kitchen at the hostel before heading to the local watering hole for exactly 2 beers with Hopkins and Theresa. I hadn't seen ol' Hopkins since we left for Aus 4 years ago; it was good to catch up, but I'm ticked I forgot to snap a photo of the 4 of us for the blog.
Day 2 in Montezuma; and more of the same. We got geared up to run the road we walked the previous night, but both decided that was far too fast paced for life in Montezuma and instead just walked for another long stint. This morning we saw several very un-afraid Capuchin Monkeys (Black with white faces) in addition to the ever- present Howlers.
Back in town, I had a minor melt down while attempting to get coffees. For all it's charm, Montezuma lacks one thing: a good café. In a town as chilled as this it really is hard to believe that nobody has done a café properly. I became ungrounded for a moment because I was forced to go to a crappy spot for the second morning in a row; and for the second morning in a row the simple task of ordering and then paying for 2 cups of black coffee for take away became a hellishly complicated undertaking. So there ya go; if anyone wants to move to Costa Rica and get rich: go to Montezuma and open a café. You're welcome.
We spent the rest of the day doing not much at all: beach, lunch, read, blog, and finally dinner which was a veggie 'casado' from the local soda in town. In the grocery store that evening I stumbled across something completely awesome, that I'd totally forgotten existed...Costa Ricas version of an ice cream sandwich: Trits. I wolfed one down for dessert; awesome!
Another morning and another bus ride; early, but not too early. Thanking Montezuma for a few über mellow days we headed to the bus stop. Destination: just over the hill to the little surf town of Santa Teresa...only 18 km, but 2 buses and totally unpaved roads...so you never know.
Awaiting us: more sand between the toes and sunshine in our faces...Pura vida! F-ing A; I could get used to this.
Actually; I think I am!!